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  1. UKIP leader Nigel Farage abandons public appearance in Rotherham because of protests outside party's office
  2. Labour's Tristram Hunt says he meant "no offence to nuns" after appearing to suggest they do not make good teachers
  3. Government's reorganisation of NHS in England branded "damaging and distracting" by King's Fund think tank
  4. There are 90 days to go until the General Election on 7 May
  5. Rolling coverage from the BBC's political team - from Today and Breakfast through to Newsnight and Today in Parliament
  6. Watch/listen to today's programmes by clicking on the 'Live Coverage' tab or the pick of the day by via 'Key Video' tab

Live Reporting

By Angela Harrison and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

Get involved


Angela Harrison

BBC News

That's all from the Politics Live team for today - a day of varied political skirmishes. The first involved the NHS, which the King's Fund said had endured "disastrous" recent changes in England. Labour didn't escape criticism either, being accused of "crying wolf" over privatisation. UKIP leader Nigel Farage cried foul and "undemocratic" over having to abandon an event in Rotherham because of protestors, while his critics accused him of trying to make political capital out of the sex abuse scandal there. Nuns became the surprise element of the day, as a row erupted over what Tristram Hunt said and meant on Question Time last night.

We'll be back on Sunday at 08:00 - with more on the battle for minds and votes.

FT Weekend


Nick Sutton, BBC

Saturday's FT front page: US jobs data boost rate-rise odds

FT front page
Financial Times


tweets: Labour like many opposition parties has commissioned reams from businessmen on productivity, skills, supply side. Press then ignores.

Telegraph front page


Nick Sutton, BBC

Saturday's Telegraph front page: Cameron gaining ground on EU reform #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Daily Telegraph front page
Daily Telegraph

Morning Star


Nick Sutton, BBC

Saturday's Morning Star front page: Stop sniping and turf out the Tories! #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Morning Star front page
Morning Star

Look ahead

Mark D'Arcy

Parliamentary correspondent

BBC parliamentary correspondent Mark D'Arcy

looks at next week in Parliament and says there is a "bitty, humdrum flavour" to it.

Guardian front page


Nick Sutton, BBC

Saturday's Guardian front page: 'I will not back down' - Miliband #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Guardian front page

Stubborn polls

BBC Newsnight


Isabel Hardman, assistant editor at

The Spectator, said on BBC Newsnight that "most normal people are not thinking about the election" - and that this explained why the polls are not shifting.

Labour's 'business credentials'

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

Former Labour adviser Matthew Taylor, speaking on the BBC's Newsnight, says the last Labour government "went to incredible lengths to prove their business credentials". He argues that "Ed Miliband has done none of that work". Yet, he says, the party has "the single strongest argument" - that businesses do not want a referendum on leaving the EU.

Magna Carta in Parliament

The House of Lords, which put in a long day today debating a contested private member's bill on international aid spending, is playing host to a document without which Parliament probably would not have existed. Agreed by King John and his barons at Runnymede in 1215, Magna Carta is now a global symbol for the rule of law and the struggle for universal enfranchisement. To mark the 800th anniversary of its sealing, the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta have been brought together, under very tight security.

Rebecca Keating

reports for the Week in Parliament. You can watch the full programme at 23:00 GMT on BBC Parliament.

Magna Carta

Daily Express


Nick Sutton, BBC

Saturday's Daily Express front page: Cheapest ever home loans #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Daily Express front page
Daily Express

Ed Miliband issues warning to UK-controlled 'tax havens'

UK territories must publish details of who controls firms registered there or face being

put on an international "blacklist", Labour has warned. In a letter to UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, party leader Ed Miliband says a Labour government would give them six months to comply. Mr Miliband said billions of pounds were "siphoned off into tax havens".

Saturday's Mirror


Nick Sutton, BBC

Saturday's Daily Mirror front page: If a woman is drunk it can't be rape #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

newspaper front page


On the campaign trail today:

  • Protesters forced Nigel Farage
    to abandon the opening of a UKIP campaign office in Rotherham. They accused him of exploiting the child abuse scandal in the town to publicise his party. Mr Farage said he'd been the victim of a "trade union-funded campaign".
  • "Nungate" - Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt says
    he meant "no offence to nuns" when he made comments about them as teachers on BBC Question Time last night. Some accused him of being disparaging, but others said he was misinterpreted and had been suggesting nuns would have been trained.
  • Labour's Margaret Hodge
    attacked her party's shadow cabinet for accepting support from accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • NHS - a report by the health think tank, the Kings Fund, said big changes in England made by the coalition in its first three years in office had been


Nick Sutton, BBC

Saturday's Daily Mail front page: Fatal delays over flu jab #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Daily Mail front page
Daily Mail

Parties clash on NHS 'privatisation'

BBC Radio 4

Labour's Lisa Nandy accuses the Conservatives of introducing more privatisation and "marketisation" of the NHS. Conservative Grant Shapps says Labour approved PFI deals and was "the only government to privatise a hospital". Green Party MEP Molly Scott says that both parties "introduced the private principle".

Saturday's papers


Nick Sutton, BBC

tweets: Independent: Cyber-crime chief warns of new threat from 'World of Warcraft' fraudsters #tomorrowspaperstoday

front page

Hodge criticism

BBC Radio 4

Any Questions host Jonathan Dimbleby asks Lisa Nandy about

criticism of the shadow cabinet from Labour MP Margaret Hodge, for accepting support from accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Ms Nandy, a Labour frontbencher, jokes: "I'm not going up against Margaret Hodge any time soon." She says a future Labour government would act against tax avoidance, arguing "there ought to be a level playing field". Labour MPs - including Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna - have received more than £540,000 in research assistance from the firm in the past 18 months alone.

Margaret Hodge
Margaret Hodge said the opposition had to be "very careful" who it accepted money from


BBC Radio 4

The Any Questions panel are asked about

the verdict of the King's Fund think tank that NHS reorganisation in England was "disastrous". Businessman Scott Fletcher says: "It's horrendous. Every single new government that comes in has tried to change the NHS." He argues that "we've got to settle on something" and work with it.

'Tax avoidance'

BBC Radio 4

Grant Shapps

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato tells the Any Questions panel that she is not sure that the business row has harmed Labour, adding that there is a distinction between small businesses and big, "corporate businesses" which can employ tax avoidance measures. But Conservative chairman Grant Shapps claims that "Ed Miliband has been going around insulting business", adding that he thinks Labour would be a "disaster for business". He insists the government has acted against tax avoidance.


BBC Radio 4

Asked whether Labour is "anti-business" on Any Questions, Lisa Nandy says that Labour was founded by working people and "this country does best when the interests of working people and the interests of businesses are aligned". Businessman Scott Fletcher says: "Businesses have lost confidence in the leadership of the Labour Party." However, he says the party has done good work in north west of England, where he is based.

Lisa Nandy



tweets: Nick Clegg Tells Julian Assange To Drop Legal Threat And Go To Sweden …

Any Questions begins

BBC Radio 4

Any Questions is just starting on BBC Radio 4. Tonight's guests are Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps MP, shadow Cabinet Office minister Lisa Nandy MP, Green MEP for the South West Molly Scott Cato and Manchester-based businessman Scott Fletcher. The programme comes from Cheadle Hulme High School in Cheshire.

Man on a mission: Boris heads to US

Boris Johnson is heading to the US east coast on a six-day trade mission aimed at promoting London's science and technology sectors. Among his engagements in Boston, New York and Washington, the Mayor of London will meet New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton for talks on responding to heightened fears of terrorism. Read coverage by our BBC London colleagues


UK trade deficit at four year high

Given the economy is going to be one of the big themes of the general election, the news that the UK's trade deficit was the widest since 2010 will not be welcomed. The gap between the value of goods and services the UK exported and what the country imported from elsewhere stood at £34.8bn, according to the Office for National Statistics. The increase was the result of falling exports, which were down £14.6bn in the year. Last month economic growth was estimated to have slowed to 0.5% in the last three months of the year. Inflation also fell to a 14 year low.

Campbell on Johnson

Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell has commented on a report in the Financial Times that Lord Mandelson and he had sounded out Alan Johnson last November over a leadership challenge to Ed Miliband. A spokesman for Mr Campbell said: "When the frenzy was going on and people were saying Alan was going for it, [Mr Campbell] called and asked him if it was true. He was emphatic he was not and that was that."

Doreen Lawrence on young voters

London Evening Standard


Doreen Lawrence

After yesterday's National Voter Registration Day, here's another plea against young people letting politics pass them by. It's from Doreen Lawrence, the Labour peer and mother of Stephen Lawrence - the 18-year-old stabbed to death in 1993. "Sometimes they feel politics is not for them, they don't connect with it,"

she tells the Evening Standard. "What I can say to them is that registering to vote gives them a voice to challenge politicians if they feel things are not going their way, or if they want to make a difference. You have to be registered to be able to ask those questions."

Any Questions

BBC Radio 4

Any Questions returns to BBC Radio 4 this evening, with guests on the panel including Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps, entrepreneur Scott Fletcher and Green MEP Molly Scott-Cato. They will be discussing, among other things, the economy, the latest book about the Prince of Wales - written by Time magazine editor-at-large Catherine Mayer - and alcoholic melons (apparently), as Jonathan Dimbleby told

Halfon's hero

The Mirror

George Osborne's official bag-carrier, Harlow MP Robert Halfon, has

raised eyebrows at the Mirror. It spotted some of his election leaflets in which he features himself pictured with, er, the late Tony Benn. As Emily Randall, an election leaflet monitor at puts it, "the inclusion of Tony Benn - a well known figure of a rival party - is unusual". Halfon won the seat from Labour in 2010 and is now defending a majority of nearly 5,000.

'Indecision and dogma'

Ed Miliband on Marr

The Financial Times'

in-depth interview with Ed Miliband is online and in it the Labour leader is upbeat, saying: "I think I've put the party in the right place to win the election and the right place to govern the country. This is an economy which isn't working for most people. It's a strategy of reaching out to people right across the country in all parts of the United Kingdom." However, the paper also quotes a "senior Labour figure" as saying Miliband is a "mixture of indecision and dogma"

Overseas aid bill

House of Lords


The weekend has come unusually late in the Lords, which usually rises at 15:00 GMT when sitting on a Friday. But today proceedings have only just wrapped up after some determined filibustering from enemies of Lib Dem Lord Purvis's

International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill. The private member's bill wants to enshrine Britain's commitment to spending 0.7% of gross national income in law. But it faces hostility from a small number of filibustering peers who - while unsuccessful today - could yet block the bill.

Main issues

If you missed it earlier - a re-cap of some of the main stories today:

  • UKIP leader Nigel Farage abandoned an appearance in Rotherham because of a demonstration outside his party offices.
  • Local Labour MP Sarah Champion accused him of trying to make political capital out of the town's child sexual exploitation scandal.
  • She tweeted it was "hilarious" to see Mr Farage trapped in the office by protesters, but later deleted the message after a barrage of criticism.
    Read more here.
  • "Nungate" - Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt says he meant "no offence to nuns" when he made comments about them as teachers on BBC Question Time last night. Some accused him of being disparaging, but others said he was misinterpreted and had been suggesting nuns would have been trained.
    The full story is here.
  • Labour's Margaret Hodge has attacked her party's shadow cabinet for accepting support from accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. Labour MPs - including Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna - have received more than £540,000 in research assistance from the firm in the past 18 months.

Lord Levy defends Miliband

BBC Radio 4

Lord Levy
Jeff Overs/BBC

Labour peer Lord Levy has told the World at One he is "saddened" by attacks on party leader Ed Miliband. Tony Blair's former chief fund raiser said business leaders should be more fearful of the possibility of a British exit from the European Union under the Tories, than the prospect of Ed Miliband in No 10. Mr Miliband has been criticised by several business figures.

Health report

models posing as doctor and patient

A reminder of a story today on one of the big election issues - the NHS. A report from the Kings Fund says big changes to the NHS in England by the coalition have been "disastrous" and have left a strategic vacuum. Labour has called for a personal apology from David Cameron, although the report's authors accused Labour of "crying wolf" over privatisation. The government said the report showed its plans for the future were right.

Read the full story here.

Unhappy Nigel

BBC News Channel

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been telling the BBC News Channel about his difficulties in Rotherham. He's not very happy with the local police, who he says "have done nothing, despite being talked to, despite being explained to". He complains: "I don't think any other political party leader would be treated like this... it's an attempt to stop a political party and its leader from speaking."


Tim Shipman, Political Editor, The Sunday Times

tweets: A Labour MP on the Hunt Question Time spat. "It's nunsense."

Mandelson denies challenge 'soundings'

Former business secretary Lord Mandelson has denied encouraging Alan Johnson to challenge Ed Miliband as Labour leader. He said: "As he is a good friend of mine, we talked about the press frenzy going on at the time and he said it was all nonsense. End of conversation, end of story."

The Financial Times reported that Lord Mandelson and Alastair Campbell had taken soundings from Mr Johnson - seen by supporters as a more voter-friendly alternative to Mr Miliband - last November. The former home secretary and best-selling author has always made it clear he does not want his party's top job.

Miliband: PM 'should apologise to patients'

In the same BBC interview, Ed Miliband says David Cameron should apologise to patients in the wake of a King's Fund report which

called NHS reorganisation in England "disastrous". Speaking during a visit to Gloucester, Mr Miliband said David Cameron had let patients down and betrayed their trust, adding: "We know that when people are waiting longer for operations, longer for tests, longer in Accident and Emergency then the responsibility goes right to David Cameron's door in Downing Street."

Ed Miliband

'Damning indictment'

Labour leader Ed Miliband has weighed in with his own criticism of David Cameron. In a BBC interview, the Labour leader said: "I think we do need a British government that is engaged in the problems of the world. I think it is a pretty damning indictment of his foreign policy that he seems pretty distant and pretty irrelevant." He added: "It's yet another reason why we need to be an engaged partner in the European Union, not sleepwalking to the exit."